Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

Put Your Plates In The Rack

by Mark Rippetoe | March 15, 2022

plates on a rack in an organized gym

Basic weight room organization requires that the plates be organized off the floor – on the plate racks. This may sound like a picky detail insisted upon by clean freaks, but I assure you it is a very practical issue that should be paid attention to. Plate racks are there for a reason, and in my gym you will use them. Here's why you should use them in yours.

Plates on the floor are a trip hazard. Sometimes other things demand our attention, and we should be able to walk around in the gym without having to dodge stray plates lying in the floor. It's not that big a deal until you trip over one and fall on one of the many hard pointy objects occupying space alongside you in the gym.

Plates on the floor are disorganized for use. The plate racks sort the plates according to size, and a short glance tells you everything you need to know about loading your next set without having to look around in the floor. And bending over to pick things up is an unnecessary pain in the ass – 45s are hard to pick up from flat on the floor, and toes have been broken doing so.

Plates left lying on the platform get people injured all the time. When we were running a weightlifting team in the platform room, it was very difficult to get the kids to understand why it was important to keep the fucking plates off the fucking platform, until one of them got hurt by a dropped loaded bar that landed and bounced backward off of a plate on the platform into the kid's shins. That got their attention – for about 10 minutes. It happened all the time, and kids are slow learners, so the coaching staff spent an inordinate amount of time teaching them what their parents should have.

Remember the CrossFit accident several years ago, when the snatch dropped behind the lifter hit a stack of plates on the platform and bounced into his back? Keep the fucking plates off the fucking platform. Seriously.

But if it's your gym and you want to be a slob, go ahead. In my gym, you will not disrespect the equipment or the efforts of other people who take some pride in the place. Not putting the plates back in the rack is purely laziness. You just don't want to go to the effort of reaching all the way to the plate rack with the equipment that you have finished with for the day. Laziness never stops with the plates, and if you can't be bothered to clean up after yourself, your training log will demonstrate this attitude as well. Habits carry over.

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